Embracing the Reality of a Virtual World during an Unprecedented Time
How social confinement contributed to the e-commerce boom and the strengthening of professional, educational, and affective interactions
By Allessandra Cintra | August 26, 2021
With social isolation necessary to contain the advancement of the Covid-19 pandemic, technology has become a fundamental tool in people’s daily lives. For example, to help maintain mental health, video calls have become commonplace between friends, family, and couples in love. In the educational field, teachers and students had to adapt, and technology was essential so learning would not be interrupted during this period. At work, the home office was adopted by many companies, and virtual meetings have become an important ally in workers’ daily routines. Again, technology was fundamental, and now these changes are here to stay.
Administrative technician and law student Patrícia Mesquita, 42 years old, sought in technology the necessary tools to work, study, stimulate her mind, access online classes for exercise, and have moments of leisure with friends and family during all these months of confinement.
Work and Studies: The New Virtual Realities
The virtual world of the Internet supports the administrative technician and law student Patricia Mesquita in finding professional and mental balance.
Since the beginning of the quarantine, the company Patrícia works for started offering remote access with the home office. Two days earlier, the academic activities at the university where she studies also went online. “It all happened very fast, and I had to adapt. In the beginning, I really liked it. Then, I found myself more productive because I could dictate my own workload. Now, I am a little tired, as I spend about 11 hours a day in front of the computer.”
To lighten her load, Patrícia practices functional gymnastics three times a week. The difference is that she and her teacher are physically separated, being kilometers apart.
The same happened with her French language course. Conversation classes are now taught by a teacher in France, while Patrícia is at home in Brazil.
In addition, Patrícia resorted to video call therapy and daily virtual chats with her mother and friends to keep her mental health in check. “Technology was fundamental for me to sustain my life and activities during this pandemic period,” she said.
Technology Brings Families Together
Retired couple, Maria de Fátima and Luiz Osório, keep family ties closely with video calls.
Retired couple, Maria de Fátima Silva, 68 years old, and Luiz Osório Silva, 72 years old, are good example of how technology has become an essential tool during this period of confinement. Isolated from family and friends since the beginning of the pandemic, the couple found in technology ways to reduce the longing for their children and grandchildren who are far away and to vitalize their minds and exercise their bodies.
“Technology has helped me to fill this physical void greatly. I am always doing video calls with my children and granddaughters. We celebrate festive dates like birthdays, Mother’s Day, Christmas, and Easter. I also discovered in shows and virtual plays a way to feel included in this cultural world that I love so much, in addition to always meeting online to chat with my girlfriends,” said Maria de Fátima.
Luiz Osório, on the other hand, relied on technology to manage daily tasks, such as online grocery shopping, ordering food, paying bills, and attending virtual medical appointments. “Everything we needed to resolve during this period was made possible by technology. Even after the pandemic, I will continue to use this tool for routine tasks like grocery shopping,” he said.
The Online Commerce Boom
Thamires Almeida works in cargo transportation at airports, overcoming complications caused by the lockdown thanks to the Internet.
With so many people shopping online, e-commerce has broken records worldwide. Statistics Canada reported on its website that in December 2020, e-commerce sales in the country reached a record of $4.82 billion, surpassing sales in the same period last year by 43%.
In Brazil, the web was also decisive for commerce. According to a survey by the Electronic Commerce Association, the Brazilian digital retailer scooped up $20 billion from March to October last year, an increase of 56% compared to the same period in 2019.
“The e-commerce movement overall was outstanding in this period. Many millions of new users have adopted online shopping out of necessity. Still, research already shows that over 80% of these people intend to maintain the new habits acquired during the pandemic, even after it ends,” says Thamires Almeida, director of Core Business, a company that provides cargo operations at 30 airports in the Americas.
“It was through technology that we had alternatives to continue working and developing the business environment. The pandemic not only accelerated the process but undoubtedly consolidated what was already happening at a slower pace. I prefer to the new models of work, study, and entertainment, which are much more flexible and coherent with the needs of a modern society,” said Thamires.
Learning the tricks of technology was a challenge for teacher Angela Caxeta to teach early childhood education at a distance.
Another area that has survived with the help of technology is education. Angela Caxeta, 32 years old, an early childhood education teacher, remembers the challenges but is grateful for having continued working even at a distance. “With the pandemic, I had to learn how to record and edit videos for my students’ classes. It wasn’t easy. At first, I used to spend a whole day to record a 15-minute video, but it was rewarding when parents told me that their children had watched everything with focus and had enjoyed it. I’m grateful that I was able to work from home, and this only happened with the help of the Internet and its tools,” she concluded.
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August 2021 : https://www.magazinediscover.com/discover-digital/